Saturday, October 15, 2005
Supplemental Post, Saturday, October 15, 2005
Joseph L. Galloway
"Armies are fragile institutions and, for all their might, easily broken."
Remember those words? They were written here, in this column, at the end of September 2003. I laid out the recipe for how to break a magnificent Army that had taken nearly two decades to rebuild itself in the wake of the Vietnam debacle.
In that early fall two years ago, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was still running victory laps and the words of his boss, President George W. Bush, were still ringing: "Bring `em on!"
Sadly, those two were, and still are, in charge.
Now they've broken the Army, and after this administration is history, it will take 12 or 15 or 20 years to repair the damage it's inflicted on an institution that our country desperately needs in a century as dangerous as this one.
Both political parties, though, have failed the American voter by offering up candidates for high office who, in simpler times, would barely have qualified for tar and feathers and rides out of town.
How can I say this about the Army when just a week ago, at the Association of the U.S. Army convention, Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey and a veritable galaxy of stars were declaring, under orders, that everything in the Army was just fine; better than good; never better.
I say this because we don't jump when Mr. Rumsfeld yells frog, and I look at the evidence that accumulates day by day. I hear this from other generals, active and retired: The U.S. Army is utterly broken and in need of immediate repair. (Emphasis added.)